Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009 Results: Quarterfinal Preview

After nearly two weeks of Gold Cup 2009 group matches and a bizarre match involving Mexico, we have reached the quarterfinal knockout stages of the 2009 edition.

Five (USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras and Panama) of the top six FIFA-ranked CONCACAF teams have justified their standings and made it through to the last eight. Guadeloupe (who is not ranked in FIFA), Canada and the surprise package of Haiti will sought to disrupt the order of the game in the hope of continuing their fairytale Gold Cup run thus far.

Here, each of the quarterfinalists will be assessed on their chances of progressing to the semifinals.

Gold Cup 2009 Quarterfinal Matches
18th July

Quarterfinal #1: Canada vs. Honduras

Canada has impressed with their football in this year's Gold Cup. To emerge from the "Group of Death" as the unbeaten group leaders has made the other teams sit up and take notice.
Ali Gerba is in excellent form, the defence have looked tough and composed. The unmistakeable Julian de Guzman is running the show in midfield. Very tough and efficient unit to break down.


Honduras finished second in Group B. They are the third highest scorers in the competition with five goals. Their defence let in two goals against the US but has maintained clean sheets against Haiti and Grenada. Carlos Costly and Martinez are key players for Honduras and will need some defensive attention. If Canada can also disrupt the supply and playmaking of Roger Espinoza then Honduras could find the going tougher than usual.

Prediction: Canada to upset Honduras and win this tight match.

Quarterfinal #2: United States vs. Panama
Team USA sent in a young squad for this year's Gold Cup campaign. So far, the team has not let him down. Stuart Holden being the standout performer thus far. Robbie Rogers and Beckerman are also living up to their potential. Team USA are capable of retaining the Gold Cup they won in 2007. They are the competition's top scorers with eight goals and with the best goal difference.


Panama finished third in Group C and will find it hard against a strong and youthful United States. With as many as three first choice players suspended, Panama will field a weakened squad. However, they have a good pedigree in this competition and cannot be underestimated. Blas Perez and Luis Tejada have scored four of Panama's six goals. The US defence will have to pay special attention to this strike pairing.

Prediction: A come-from-behind win for the young USA team.

19th July

Quarterfinal #3: Guadeloupe vs. Costa Rica

Guadeloupe has looked impressive in Group C, winning two matches and losing only to Mexico. The Gwada Boyz will be looking to repeat their 2007 achievements and reach the semifinals again. Ludovic Gotin is suspended for this match and that could be the only negative for Guadeloupe. I think they will go one step further and subsequently reach the final this time.


Costa Rica does not have the look of a consistent team in this Gold Cup. They qualified in second place in the "Group of Death" thanks only to the unexpected loss of El Salvador to Jamaica. So Los Ticos are lucky to be alive at this stage. Still you cannot discount the experience and talent in this squad. This will be a tough test for the Ticos.

Guadeloupe to win this competitive matchup

Quarterfinal #4: Mexico vs. Haiti

Mexico have not set this tournament alight yet with their play. The Mexicans have shown plenty of resilience and determination against Nicaragua and Panama. In the group stage, El Tri have been playing like a team with immense pressure, afraid to make a mistake. Now, the shackles can come off and this team can finally show what it is capable of. Gio Dos Santos is the X-factor in this team and he will be looked upon for creativity and unpredictability. Omar Bravo is the willing and tireless worker. Carlos Vela should recover in time for this meeting with Haiti. Expect lots of goals in this one.


Haiti was a late replacement after Cuba withdrew from this competition. They have shown that they are capable of matching and competing with CONCACAF's best. This was evident in their 2-2 draw with United States. Beating Grenada in the group stages underlines the quality that Haiti has. They will however find a liberated Mexico hard to contain and will let in a few goals.

Prediction: Mexico to go through comfortably

The semifinalists:
1. Canada
2. United States
3. Guadeloupe
4. Mexico

The finalists:
1. United States (at the expense of Canada)
2. Guadeloupe (beating Mexico)

Predicted Gold Cup 2009 Champions: United States

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